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if people knew what i spent 98% of my time doing behind closed doors, they would probably think very differently of me.

this is why i have nothing to talk to anyone about, nobody wants to hear about how i am addicted to clash of clans (mobile game), or the fact that i hate having any responsibilities and thus am probably going to bomb out on everything i was going to do this year.

i either become a depressive/anxious wreck while trying to do a uni course, or i can be relatively happy doing no study/work

on a positive note i just got my first check for 1500$ from the Govt for youth allowance.
 

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I, too, "speak simply because I enjoy the conversation." This has been an incredibly fulfilling aspect of PerC for me, getting to have these kinds of conversations that can otherwise be excruciatingly hard to come by. The relative control we have over online relationships definitely allows us to be more open and experimental than we might otherwise be, because of legitimate fears about the practical consequences of such comments amongst everyday associates.
Yes, they're frustratingly hard to come by. My brother tells me everyone has something they like to talk in depth about, but he's entirely satisfied with a conversation that's purely intellectually stimulating. As for relative control and fear, I see that rationally, yet don't see it reflected in my behavior. I suppose compared to a room of people, I'm less guarded in forums, but it's more the written format than any sense of anonymity. I'm tend strongly toward fearlessly open, my hesitance comes largely out of social concern for others, not my desire to hold back. There are a few things I tend not to advertise in public, but not much of anything I'm not willing to talk to a total stranger about if I get the right feeling about them.

I hope I didn't seem too defensive or churlish with my "Lest you think I am embedded in a dark spiral" comment. In spite of the relative distance of online conversations, I have noticed that people still treat talk of suicide with kid gloves, becoming immediately alarmed and comforting rather than direct and engaged. This is not without reason (after all, one does not want to ignore any 'cry for help')
Not at all; it's good to have clarity. I hadn't thought to put words to it before, but my gut was saying you weren't reaching out from an unusually dangerous decline in your well being. What kind of 4s would we be if we couldn't accept such things as part of our life experience? Appearances can be very deceiving, but I also know that you have to meet people where they feel comfortable and go from there. If there is suicidal depression, I'll do whatever I can, and I hope no one would hesitate to reach out to me if they feel a desire to, especially if they're in a difficult place; I'm always glad to be there for someone in need.

This is an incredible thing to hear, and made me positively levitate. :kitteh: I, too, find these moments of understanding genuinely ecstatic. They are blissful, comforting and exciting all at the same time, amongst the best experiences life has to offer. My extreme introversion and tendency to withdraw notwithstanding, it is almost always better to share these profound thoughts and moments with someone else. This is not to say that they are not rewarding in and of themselves, but having no one to share an insight with, no one to grasp your perspective and appreciate your pleasure, feels lonely and barren.
I'm really glad to hear that. :happy: I manage a few per month typically, although there've been times when they almost flow like water. Having someone in my life who wants to take the time to keep up with all that would be priceless. One reason I've stuck with the therapist I've used for so long, is she's the only one I've found that can and will keep up, although we don't talk often enough for that anymore. As much as I love those experiences, I'd trade a fair bit of those away if doing so could bring someone to share them with. Not that it does, if anything, it only accelerates the pace.

On the other side, anyone who doesn't want that, I tend to feel can't connect with me in a long term way. I develop myself rapidly. I like to think it's growth. If they don't want to keep up with the insights and consequent changes, at bare minimum, they aren't actually staying connected with me. I can't blame them, it's a lot to take in, and catching up can be tough. I find this aspect of myself rather isolating, but I'm just not a stability seeking person; I've grown quite cynical about stability, though I once felt the appeal, and I see it has some virtue. It's frustrating at times, but attempting to slow or stop this has been near catastrophic for me, so I know that's not the answer. I must simply allow things to be as they are. I suspect I'd exhaust you with that easily, but I'm open to being wrong. :happy:

Yes; for me also my envy flares most dramatically in response to the loss of a connection I had or the observation of connections between others (again, either between two people or between a person and a subject they deeply understand). I crave those things. I can't get enough, so even when I have a lot, seeing other people having some kind of connection that I don't have but would like to have makes me insanely covetous. I want more. I want that too. I don't begrudge other people having it, but the very fact of their having it and my not having it makes me feel diminished, inadequate. It is an incredibly greedy impulse.
Yes! All of that, since... forever! It wouldn't be so bad were it not the one thing I most desperately want. I have a laundry list of defenses to cope with that feeling that it's missing. Objectively, I'm not sure how much is real and how much is wanting a depth that most people would be uncomfortable with.

At the same time, it is not a completely promiscuous impulse. I'm not searching for any kind of connection. I have a very strong sense of myself and my own interests. If someone seeks to connect with me in a way I can't feel (because they are misjudging me or misreading me, even in a positive way), I reject it. The connection has to be visceral in order to have value, which is one reason being misjudged is itself so painful. If you don't see me, you cannot possibly connect with me. If you see some doppleganger configured in a fashion that is more relatable, you have enclosed me behind a wall before you even reached out to touch me. That act may not be intentional or spiteful, but it is so frustrating it makes me feel like lava is bubbling out of my eyes and ears and mouth.
I'm not promiscuous in that sense either, although I seem to broadcast enough, whatever it is, that I only occasionally recognize people reaching for a connection I don't want. I have confused people occasionally by having what they consider deep intellectual conversations, because they find that fulfilling, they feel connected by it, whereas I find it only a bit more so than watching TV. I have them mainly to create the opportunity for connection, and out of boredom. Most of the time, though, at least IRL, I very quickly know if I want to know a person well. Random sidetrack: a google search tied to this lead to this banned book, which I now feel I ought to own an original copy of: The Housewifes Handbook on Selective Promiscuity

I don't have quite the same reaction to people who have defensive layers like that. Some of the most interesting people I've met needed that to get by in the world. At the same time, if I'm not a person they want to let in, I take that very, very personally. Just as a child would though, I keep reaching out, even though it keeps hurting. Giving up isn't an option, although I'll certainly let go of trying to connect with someone who doesn't want to let me in. How long that takes seems to depend on how much potential I feel.

Ironically, right after I posted about my lack of identification with 9, and my withdrawing response to the frustration of a connecting impulse (in response to Thaumaturgic Theorist's post about my seeming 9ish), I happened to get a call from a close friend who is an archetypical 9 and with whom I have a strong connection but also a lot of differences and a fairly volatile relationship. (I wrote a long post about it which I accidentally erased :angry:.) It's a long story, but I had had him and his wife and kids over for dinner a few days before. There is a lot of tension between them (she wants to separate), and the tension was very out in the open and they both tried to draw me into it (in different ways) and that made me really uncomfortable, which is what I had wanted to talk to him about.

He was quite stressed (both my me and by other factors in his life) and he became angry and we had an argument. It was actually useful, because he was much more honest than he had been before. His anger let him tap into feelings he had not been acknowledging or expressing, and it was very illuminating while also being incredibly hurtful.
Sorry 'bout your lost post, that's painful, I know. :th_sad: Keeping our friends from being put in the middle was thankfully one thing my ex and I agreed strongly about. There were a few we mutually agreed were much closer to one of us and we'd not try to maintain that neutrality with, and the rest have said we've been quite respectful of each other to them. It's hard sometimes, but when someone tries to be friends with two people who later take issue with each other, I feel it's just destructive of that friendship, and hurtful to the person, to push them to take sides.

I see how anger can be illuminating. I can struggle to deal well with anger directed at me, but I'll take it over hiding and passive aggression any day, unless the person is unwilling to allow me to express my emotional reactions to what is directed at me. That pattern can end things for me for sure. Now if someone just needs to vent about the world, yeah, I'm glad to listen and not dump my own feelings on top, other than to express whatever sympathies I have.

I felt utterly rejected by the end of the call because he made it clear that some of my strongest and (in my own view) best features are simply annoying and frustrating to him. He revealed that he hates all my 'drama,' 'constant analysis of everything' and 'focusing on the negative.' He just wants us to relax and enjoy each other and ignore any tensions and problems because focusing on them makes him upset and doesn't get us anywhere.
I screamed with rage and a desire to strangle people when I read this. Sometimes I feel I'm in a world run by sevens, and I'm so sick of their denial of all things not bright and shiny, their fear of understanding, and I'm so sick of having to choose between being unwanted and being myself. The avoidance just makes me sick and so angry, because somehow, it always seems to come down to blaming me for the problems that come from their refusal to accept that life can be painful and difficult and complicated. And then, on the other side, you have the nihilists who can't see any potential. WHAT IS SO AWFUL ABOUT SEEING THE WORLD AS IT IS?!?! DENIAL SOLVES NOTHING. The next person who tells me to look on the bright side is going to meet with an unfortunate fate. I am being an optimist, you fucking asshole; I'm already doing my best to find and emphasize positive opportunities and you're try to sugar coat it further. :frustrating::angry: I'd say I want to set the world on fire over this, but it seems these idiots have that well in hand.

Huh. Seems I did have something to rant about. To be perfectly clear, none of you here on PerC are why I'm upset about this.

Anyway, I came out of the conversation feeling that we really cannot be good friends to each other. He brings me down with his constant problems he wants to vent about but then ignore and not even try to solve, and with his irritated, passive-agressive avoidance, especially towards me when his issues end up affecting me and I want to talk to him about it. I bring him down by getting stressed by his problems, and by wanting to constantly talk about things he'd rather ignore.
I couldn't deal with that either. I'd feel rejected for who I am; What could be worse?

I still love him and value him and think he's a good person at heart, and more than that I feel a genuine connection to him. But our friendship is really killing me, and I don't think we can ever work these issues out. Now the I see that it the friendship is also hurting him and bringing him down I know I need to end it, for both our sakes. The fact that who I am is so stressful and painful for him feels terrible, as does my burgeoning awareness that all my efforts to be a good friend were for naught. I feel deeply wasted and rejected, but I have to get over it and put it behind me. It's going to be hard because I end up seeing him a lot given other life circumstances, and he will want to put on the happy face every time and act like we're still great friends. If I act like that, I will get sucked into the same cycle. I need a stronger break, and I don't know how to create it.
I'm struggling with these questions myself, so I have no answers, only musings and sympathy. It sounds like we're different in this, but when I feel a strong connection with someone, I empathize with their mood compulsively, so this can be hard if they're genuinely happy, or really good at acting so. I feel my line to two all too well. To try to break out of that, I'm trying to stay in touch with my anger, as a way to externalize my feelings of hurt. So far... mixed results. There's just too much holding back all around in the most similar thing I have going on. When I feel connected to someone, confronting, not withdrawing, has been the only way I ever feel something is resolved, and I when I can't get that on an emotional level, I struggle a great deal.

This is a long rant apropos of nothing in particular; it just happened to occur in the midst of all this discussion of connections with other people, and what it is like to be a 9 and thus I've associated it. What set me off, I suppose, was your comment about how connection/loss of connection evokes a strong response in you. It certainly does in me, and now I find myself chagrinned both by the strength of my reaction and the terrible feelings elicited by having the connection broken/rejected/fail to be cherished by another person. I don't think this is all that unusual, but clearly he is put together differently. He would prefer the appearance of tranquility over an actual connection, with all the push and pull and pain that comes along with it. I cannot imagine having that response; it feels completely alien and alienating. I feel hurt by his response to the connection, but I also pity him because it makes him seem so dead. I cannot imagine choosing to live that way.
All of this, +1000. I can't tell you how many times I feel like grabbing people and shaking them over this. What are they doing with their lives?!? I wish I could make them wake up. And I know they're probably just different and I need to simply accept that, but I can't begin to understand, to relate to that, it just feels terribly sad and broken. I know that if it is defensiveness, this will only put their walls up more, so I fight this feeling down on so many levels. I'm done fighting myself down like that, but reconciling that shift with my ethics is an ongoing process for me.

Of course, as with you, under all the desire to push against the world, I'm badly hurt and vulnerable. I can only hope that in showing my feelings honestly and openly, I find people who do get me. I'm deeply afraid that this won't work, but I have so little left to loose socially, and sometimes that emboldens me, other times, I feel every gentle breeze with the force of a hurricane.

Thank you for this, and to others, for the having patience with the wear on your scroll wheel. :wink:
 

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One reason I've stuck with the therapist I've used for so long, is she's the only one I've found that can and will keep up, although we don't talk often enough for that anymore. As much as I love those experiences, I'd trade a fair bit of those away if doing so could bring someone to share them with. Not that it does, if anything, it only accelerates the pace.

On the other side, anyone who doesn't want that, I tend to feel can't connect with me in a long term way. I develop myself rapidly. I like to think it's growth. If they don't want to keep up with the insights and consequent changes, at bare minimum, they aren't actually staying connected with me. I can't blame them, it's a lot to take in, and catching up can be tough. I find this aspect of myself rather isolating, but I'm just not a stability seeking person; I've grown quite cynical about stability, though I once felt the appeal, and I see it has some virtue. It's frustrating at times, but attempting to slow or stop this has been near catastrophic for me, so I know that's not the answer. I must simply allow things to be as they are. I suspect I'd exhaust you with that easily, but I'm open to being wrong. :happy:

Yes! All of that, since... forever! It wouldn't be so bad were it not the one thing I most desperately want. I have a laundry list of defenses to cope with that feeling that it's missing. Objectively, I'm not sure how much is real and how much is wanting a depth that most people would be uncomfortable with.
I'm honestly not sure what you mean by saying that you don't seek "stability." Do you mean you don't want to be static? It seems you are describing something else, but I can't quite understand it. The way you describe your desire for "someone to share" your insights with, it sounds very monogamous, like you want ONE PERSON with whom you can share all of these things. I wonder if that's true. Would you feel equally satisfied if you had a number of partners (friends, lovers, therapists, whomever) none of whom could individually connect with you enough to satisfy you, but who could do so collectively? Speaking for myself, I think a connection that is equally deep and broad is too much to ask of one person. I feel like seeking this puts too much pressure on any particular relationship. I need several personal 'connections' in my life, and I'm OK with that.

It's interesting you say that about the therapist. I have never found a therapist I synced with. I haven't gone crazy trying, but I've certainly put in some time and with a handful of different people (maybe 7 total?) and every time has been: meh. Not like they are terrible or incompetent, but they generally do not bring a great deal of insight to my situation. They often seem to have their own hobby horses that they beat with more or less subtlety, and a predetermined worldview into which they are trying to fit the details of my life and person.

Moreover, there is something very inert, disengaged, and passive about the process in my experience. There is insufficient intellectual spark to the discussions, no sense that the therapist is willing to be pushed and challenged, or, paradoxically, push and challenge you. Most therapy training comes with a fair amount of intellectual/theoretical baggage that is insufficiently investigated, and the therapists never seem willing or able to make this baggage explicit or argue its merits. I also become irritated by the background sense that you are expected to agree with each other, that it is not acceptable for the therapist and client to take up a different perspective on something of psychological importance. There is also a not-very-subtle way of steering things towards benign, optimistic platitudes. It's not acceptable to just have the view that life sucks, or there is just no unproblematic way to interact with your mother in law, or whatever. Sometimes I really want to argue with the therapists about their own background commitments. Given the volatility of what can be discussed, the manifest polite and formulaic quality of the interactions rubs me the wrong way. Also- I feel horrible and arrogant saying this- but I have never been intellectually impressed by a therapist, which makes it hard to respect their commentary as authoritative, especially when it seems suspiciously easy and anodyne. I have also known quite a few therapy lovers who do not seem improved by the experience.

Well that turned into quite a rant. :rolleyes: I've just never found therapists as insightful as friends for discussing the important matters of my life. Even though it is nominally a safe and socially disconnected space for exploring one's feelings openly and honestly, I find it to be less fruitful, less open, and certainly less interesting than conversations with those who are in fact more invested in me and the outcome, in part because of the explicit, back-and-forth challenge that goes along with such conversations.

How many therapists did you try before you found this one whose opinion you respect? Do you think it was a fortunate accident to happen upon her?

I don't have quite the same reaction to people who have defensive layers like that. Some of the most interesting people I've met needed that to get by in the world. At the same time, if I'm not a person they want to let in, I take that very, very personally. Just as a child would though, I keep reaching out, even though it keeps hurting. Giving up isn't an option, although I'll certainly let go of trying to connect with someone who doesn't want to let me in. How long that takes seems to depend on how much potential I feel.
I was actually referring to people who have projective layers, rather than defensive layers. That is, some people are fundamentally unwilling to engage with others on a deep and honest level. They will only hear certain kinds of things and acknowledge certain viewpoints; whatever doesn't obviously fit with their preconceptions gets ignored or 'reinterpreted.' The process is probably defensive in nature, nonetheless, I am not particularly sympathetic to the impulse because it seems very disrespectful to treat others this way, as an accessory to your own worldview rather than a person with views and feelings in their own right. It is especially frustrating when the projections are not immediately obvious, so you spend a lot of time and effort explaining yourself to someone only to find out that they weren't even listening.

I can't imagine not being hurt by the refusal of a person you want to know to let you in. I feel this is rejection in its most fundamental form, again, a refusal even to honestly interact. I can be incredibly private and aloof, but I think this is partially a response to the fact that most people do not wish to honestly interact with me. I don't know how much of this is about me personally, and the kinds of things I say and do when I am open, and how much is about not wanting to engage with anyone at all (like the projective personalities I was describing above). I have a strong sense, deeply rooted in childhood and not particularly considered, that other people will react badly if I let them in, so I should keep my thoughts and feelings to myself so as not to attract unwanted attention. It's not terribly hard for me most of the time, since my natural tendency is to turn inwards and get lost in my thoughts. But I don't like feeling that I having to hide myself away. It feels like adopting exactly that superficial, spectral persona that most frustrates me in others. Maybe I wouldn't like people; maybe they wouldn't like me, but I'd just like to know instead of wondering and speculating. I would prefer to be open and let the chips fall where they may. I am working on this, but people can be both easily threatened and very difficult to read.

Often I think others' disengagement with the outside world stems from a fundamental disengagement with themselves, and there is no getting around this. If someone doesn't want to know themselves, or anyone else, I really see no point in talking to them. It was very painful to have this realization about my friend recently because he seems very interesting to me. I have a deep sense that he is very much worth knowing, if only I could clear away the clutter and get to the core of him. But he made it disturbingly clear that he is NOT interested in this kind of conversation, in part because he sees it as negative and painful. He is not interesting in 'focusing on the negative' in himself, or in anyone else. He would rather ignore these parts of life. He might as well have told me that 2+2=5. :confused: There is nowhere to go from there.

I screamed with rage and a desire to strangle people when I read this. Sometimes I feel I'm in a world run by sevens, and I'm so sick of their denial of all things not bright and shiny, their fear of understanding, and I'm so sick of having to choose between being unwanted and being myself. The avoidance just makes me sick and so angry, because somehow, it always seems to come down to blaming me for the problems that come from their refusal to accept that life can be painful and difficult and complicated. And then, on the other side, you have the nihilists who can't see any potential. WHAT IS SO AWFUL ABOUT SEEING THE WORLD AS IT IS?!?! DENIAL SOLVES NOTHING. The next person who tells me to look on the bright side is going to meet with an unfortunate fate. I am being an optimist, you fucking asshole; I'm already doing my best to find and emphasize positive opportunities and you're try to sugar coat it further. :frustrating::angry: I'd say I want to set the world on fire over this, but it seems these idiots have that well in hand.

I see how anger can be illuminating. I can struggle to deal well with anger directed at me, but I'll take it over hiding and passive aggression any day, unless the person is unwilling to allow me to express my emotional reactions to what is directed at me. That pattern can end things for me for sure. Now if someone just needs to vent about the world, yeah, I'm glad to listen and not dump my own feelings on top, other than to express whatever sympathies I have.

All of this, +1000. I can't tell you how many times I feel like grabbing people and shaking them over this. What are they doing with their lives?!? I wish I could make them wake up. And I know they're probably just different and I need to simply accept that, but I can't begin to understand, to relate to that, it just feels terribly sad and broken. I know that if it is defensiveness, this will only put their walls up more, so I fight this feeling down on so many levels. I'm done fighting myself down like that, but reconciling that shift with my ethics is an ongoing process for me.
I appreciate your sympathy; and- as you might expect- yowl in resonant irritation especially at the bolded parts above. Generally speaking, I am not a judgmental sort; I am content to observe all the different ways of moving through the world with great fascination and accept that other people's priorities, outlook and choices may diverge sharply from my own. I want to know their perspectives, but I don't expect some common denominator that binds us all together and renders each person's outlook compatible with all the others. In spite of this, I have to say, I just have a lot of trouble accepting that, when it comes to disengagement with what is painful, other people are "just different and I need to simply accept that." In this respect, I do judge others. Although I almost never make ethical proclamations, I feel impulsively that there is something simply wrong about going through life that way. It seems we are in the same boat on this one, and it does strike me as a very four-ish boat indeed. Perhaps we suffer from the same peculiar bayou-born ailment. :wink:

My goal in life is not pleasure or happiness or enlightenment or faith or peace; my goal is to engage. I want to see what there is to see, know what there is to know, and feel what there is to feel. There is a raw hunger, an avaricious greed that is part and parcel of my outlook. I want it all, the good and the bad, and I don't want to exclude certain experiences before I get out out of the gate. I don't want homogeneity; I don't want tranquility; I want the big hot mess, with all its pleasures and pains. I want to take it all in, and then transform in like a prism into something else. I want to experience, process, and create anew.

Probably my greatest personal tragedy is that I have stifled my own creative powers. I'm not sure how much I even had them, but I know that, in order to function, they have to be unbridled and unconfined, and I do not have that now, nor do I know how to get it. My intellectual/personal journey, undertaken to channel and sharpen my knowledge and insight, ended up curtailing them, partially by rousing an anxiety disorder that makes every expression painfully mediated and self-conscious and partially by honing a critical power that is genuine, but reinforces the anxiety and makes me unable to see past my own flaws. I have reduced my capacity for conversation to painful stuttering, gutteral utterances that express only suppression and frustration. It's as if I have an accidental, self-inflicted wound to the throat. Now I'm stuck in the disturbing, gurgling anguish of a person drowning in her own blood. My beating, pulsing life force has been unleashed against itself.

I'm struggling with these questions myself, so I have no answers, only musings and sympathy. It sounds like we're different in this, but when I feel a strong connection with someone, I empathize with their mood compulsively, so this can be hard if they're genuinely happy, or really good at acting so. I feel my line to two all too well. To try to break out of that, I'm trying to stay in touch with my anger, as a way to externalize my feelings of hurt. So far... mixed results. There's just too much holding back all around in the most similar thing I have going on. When I feel connected to someone, confronting, not withdrawing, has been the only way I ever feel something is resolved, and I when I can't get that on an emotional level, I struggle a great deal.
I have to say, I didn't follow this very much. I am also empathetic, but it is not empathy to what is expressed. Rather, I feel like I am empathetic to some underlying emotion that is often hidden away. With my friend, one of the things that drew me to him is a sense of deep, welling hurt and sadness. Although he often seems easy-going, peaceful, unbothered, I don't sympathize with those. They seem like masks hiding something very interesting and intense and painful underneath the veneer. I sympathize with those underlying dispositions, and I want to protect them, and let them come out to see the sun. He denies that part of himself, and in any case, does not want to explore it. The position seems self-abnegating to a tragic degree, and I am so attracted to the thing under the depths I cannot fathom that he rejects it. At the same time, I wonder how much I am seeing something that isn't there? It feels incredibly real to me, but if it has so little substance that its ego cannot acknowledge it... I just don't know. I don't know who he is, though I am coming to see that who he wishes to be is a scary and disturbing entity. I know his desire to be tranquil is profound, but I cannot empathize with it. There is a very real sense in which I cannot, myself, engage with that person who wants to skate along peacefully, denying all the trauma and angst buried in the ice. Which is somewhat paradoxical given my own desire to engage. I wish to engage, except with disengagement, I suppose.

Sleep beckons....
 

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I'm honestly not sure what you mean by saying that you don't seek "stability." Do you mean you don't want to be static? It seems you are describing something else, but I can't quite understand it. The way you describe your desire for "someone to share" your insights with, it sounds very monogamous, like you want ONE PERSON with whom you can share all of these things. I wonder if that's true. Would you feel equally satisfied if you had a number of partners (friends, lovers, therapists, whomever) none of whom could individually connect with you enough to satisfy you, but who could do so collectively? Speaking for myself, I think a connection that is equally deep and broad is too much to ask of one person. I feel like seeking this puts too much pressure on any particular relationship. I need several personal 'connections' in my life, and I'm OK with that.
I mean stability in my internal sense of self and my life, aside from intimate relationships. If I go through a year and come out feeling like the same person who went in, I feel that was a wasted year. My impossible ideal is indeed to have one person with whom I share everything and they do too, that we both have the same outlook on growing and changing as individuals, that somehow this outlook never affects our relationship, and that I never need to reach out to anyone else to get what I need in terms of intimacy. Monogamy isn't a deal breaker for me (My LTR that ended last year was monogamous for all but a year or two fairly early on), but I couldn't begin to deal with someone who is possessive and jealous, as I'll end up choosing between that relationship and being in the world properly, and without the latter, the relationship will fail. So there's a degree of openness and trust that I absolutely require and am glad to reciprocate.

I don't believe that being both deep and broad puts too much pressure on a relationship, I believe that doing so, in the context of them being the One True Person does that. I'd rather relax that latter constraint and have less practical commitment in life than reduce the scope of the connection in terms of intimacy. If I have to choose between being everything to someone, and being deeply intimate with them, I choose the latter. My experience thus far has been that this is indeed a choice I have to make, because of the conflicts between my desire to grow and change as a person and to see others around me do the same, and my desire to have someone be right there with me all the way. That's a combination that's highly unstable, so my theory on how to deal with that is to let relationships ebb and flow, although I find that very difficult. I first had to try the opposite of putting the relationship first and learn that I destroy myself in the process - doing that cannot work for me.

It's interesting you say that about the therapist. I have never found a therapist I synced with. I haven't gone crazy trying, but I've certainly put in some time and with a handful of different people (maybe 7 total?) and every time has been: meh. Not like they are terrible or incompetent, but they generally do not bring a great deal of insight to my situation. They often seem to have their own hobby horses that they beat with more or less subtlety, and a predetermined worldview into which they are trying to fit the details of my life and person.
I've had exactly one good one out of probably 6 or 7, maybe more. It's hard to keep track of unremarkable people from long ago. Even with her, we've had a lot more conflict lately. If we hadn't been working together for many years on and off, I'd have given up on working with her. I came very close about 6 months ago and chose to confront instead. There's a certain magic that's never quite been there again, but it's still been useful. This one has a few obvious external traits that I believe relate to my finding her productive to work with: She's older (now semi-retired) and did research work as well as clinical, and focused her career on a subpopulation that I'm part of. Most critically, she can keep up. She challenges me, she's quite intellectually capable, and rarely insists that she must be right about something, she accepts that some things just suck and can't be fixed, and listens to what I'd like help with.

With others the pattern has been, try a few sessions, get useless superficial advice, and recognize that they still haven't caught up to the heavily simplified pieces I'm trying to lay out for them which have already changed significantly in my understanding of them. Many of them get bonus points by claiming I'm making things too complicated. It feels awful, it makes matters worse, etc. I've found one or two others who didn't have the laundry list of flaws, but they just couldn't keep up, so I didn't keep going to them, though I might if I were stuck in a deep depression and needed someone locally. (My current therapist is in NJ) It's worth noting that in some sense, they're right, things aren't that complicated, but because intellectualization is one of my major defenses, I've needed someone who can challenge that effectively. That may no longer be true, now that I've recognized it as such.

I don't feel I can comment on friends being just as insightful. When I've tried to make friends who connect that much with me, they wander off or become avoidant. Story of my life, so it's hard not to take it personally. I suspect I exhaust them, and I've been told that my intellect can be quite intimidating to others in my field (which makes me want to cry as this is the last thing I want to be seen for), so bonding over that stuff often doesn't work out as well as I'd hope either. I do think, in principal, that this is true, and I've certainly moments when discussing with friends had a much bigger impact than my therapist. In general though, I feel clueless when it comes to close friendships as I've never had one that stuck long enough to get that depth.

Do you think it was a fortunate accident to happen upon her?
Very much so. Others have been helpful in getting me through depression, because I slow down dramatically when I'm there, but that's really the only thing they've helped with. There's been a rather painful trend in my life that I can very rarely find someone who can help me accomplish something I care about. I try, over and over, and I do it, even when it's not actually helpful, just because I hate feeling that lonely. But in the end, eyes go back to me for what to do next. It seems I choose between leading and withdrawing, when I want the friendly challenge and, sometimes, competition between equals.

I was actually referring to people who have projective layers, rather than defensive layers. That is, some people are fundamentally unwilling to engage with others on a deep and honest level. They will only hear certain kinds of things and acknowledge certain viewpoints; whatever doesn't obviously fit with their preconceptions gets ignored or 'reinterpreted.' The process is probably defensive in nature, nonetheless, I am not particularly sympathetic to the impulse because it seems very disrespectful to treat others this way, as an accessory to your own worldview rather than a person with views and feelings in their own right. It is especially frustrating when the projections are not immediately obvious, so you spend a lot of time and effort explaining yourself to someone only to find out that they weren't even listening.
Projection is a defense that tends to cut me more deeply than others, which makes sense, what with the 4 defense being introjection. I feel sadness that they're, deep down, too hurt to be open to the world. But my patience for that quickly wears thin when it becomes clear that they intend to remain that way.

I can't imagine not being hurt by the refusal of a person you want to know to let you in. I feel this is rejection in its most fundamental form, again, a refusal even to honestly interact. I can be incredibly private and aloof, but I think this is partially a response to the fact that most people do not wish to honestly interact with me. I don't know how much of this is about me personally, and the kinds of things I say and do when I am open, and how much is about not wanting to engage with anyone at all (like the projective personalities I was describing above). I have a strong sense, deeply rooted in childhood and not particularly considered, that other people will react badly if I let them in, so I should keep my thoughts and feelings to myself so as not to attract unwanted attention. It's not terribly hard for me most of the time, since my natural tendency is to turn inwards and get lost in my thoughts. But I don't like feeling that I having to hide myself away. It feels like adopting exactly that superficial, spectral persona that most frustrates me in others. Maybe I wouldn't like people; maybe they wouldn't like me, but I'd just like to know instead of wondering and speculating. I would prefer to be open and let the chips fall where they may. I am working on this, but people can be both easily threatened and very difficult to read.
I feel similarly about all the bolded parts. That belief that people will react badly to me is terribly hard for me, because my instinct is to keep reaching out, always, and never stop, even when it's very difficult, especially when it's difficult. If I feel confused about something someone has said, and I can't make sense of it, I want to confront this until it is resolved, and my instinct is to just keep going until it is or I am told clearly to stop. I have very little capacity to accept areas that are unresolved and off limits. I can probably live with one if someone is very important and the matter isn't too much, but it never is quite the same.

To be clear, my belief that being more open would lead to bad things is rooted in real childhood experience. The absolutely last thing I could be with my parents was open; they were much too reactive and struggling to keep themselves together, and with one of them, it became an issue of physical safety as well, that I learned to manipulate rather than being open. How I wish I could cut that ability out of me, but I do tend to disarm it by being as explicit as I can get away with about my faults, my weaknesses.

Often I think others' disengagement with the outside world stems from a fundamental disengagement with themselves, and there is no getting around this. If someone doesn't want to know themselves, or anyone else, I really see no point in talking to them. It was very painful to have this realization about my friend recently because he seems very interesting to me. I have a deep sense that he is very much worth knowing, if only I could clear away the clutter and get to the core of him. But he made it disturbingly clear that he is NOT interested in this kind of conversation, in part because he sees it as negative and painful. He is not interesting in 'focusing on the negative' in himself, or in anyone else. He would rather ignore these parts of life. He might as well have told me that 2+2=5. :confused: There is nowhere to go from there.
Yes, it breaks my heart too. I've recently started accepting this conclusion about someone who had the very rare ability to leave me feeling intellectually challenged in a manner concordant with my values. I've probably said this before, but this latest insult added to the long history of rejection is trigger for my present anger at the world and all of those who want to use me but not know me.

In spite of this, I have to say, I just have a lot of trouble accepting that, when it comes to disengagement with what is painful, other people are "just different and I need to simply accept that." In this respect, I do judge others. Although I almost never make ethical proclamations, I feel impulsively that there is something simply wrong about going through life that way. It seems we are in the same boat on this one, and it does strike me as a very four-ish boat indeed. Perhaps we suffer from the same peculiar bayou-born ailment. :wink:
I love the connection you've drawn between the outlook and location. One of the biggest shocks I got leaving NOLA was that, for most of the english speaking world, life revolves around material accomplishment. This does not resonate with me at all. To me, life is about exploring inside and out, connecting and growing as people, and accomplishments are side effects of that, the way we practice the art of living, not the purpose of living.

My goal in life is not pleasure or happiness or enlightenment or faith or peace; my goal is to engage. I want to see what there is to see, know what there is to know, and feel what there is to feel. There is a raw hunger, an avaricious greed that is part and parcel of my outlook. I want it all, the good and the bad, and I don't want to exclude certain experiences before I get out out of the gate. I don't want homogeneity; I don't want tranquility; I want the big hot mess, with all its pleasures and pains. I want to take it all in, and then transform in like a prism into something else. I want to experience, process, and create anew.
Every word of this, yes, yes, yes! I get excited, aroused even, reading this. Because yeah. That. So much that. Every word and never want to stop. Uh, was that TMI?

Probably my greatest personal tragedy is that I have stifled my own creative powers. I'm not sure how much I even had them, but I know that, in order to function, they have to be unbridled and unconfined, and I do not have that now, nor do I know how to get it. My intellectual/personal journey, undertaken to channel and sharpen my knowledge and insight, ended up curtailing them, partially by rousing an anxiety disorder that makes every expression painfully mediated and self-conscious and partially by honing a critical power that is genuine, but reinforces the anxiety and makes me unable to see past my own flaws. I have reduced my capacity for conversation to painful stuttering, gutteral utterances that express only suppression and frustration. It's as if I have an accidental, self-inflicted wound to the throat. Now I'm stuck in the disturbing, gurgling anguish of a person drowning in her own blood. My beating, pulsing life force has been unleashed against itself.
Oh my, do we have something in common in our pathological use of intellect? If so, that's a first. I couldn't snap out of it until I saw it reach a very bitter end.

I have to say, I didn't follow this very much.
Oh good. When I reread what I wrote there, neither could I.

I am also empathetic, but it is not empathy to what is expressed. Rather, I feel like I am empathetic to some underlying emotion that is often hidden away. With my friend, one of the things that drew me to him is a sense of deep, welling hurt and sadness. Although he often seems easy-going, peaceful, unbothered, I don't sympathize with those. They seem like masks hiding something very interesting and intense and painful underneath the veneer. I sympathize with those underlying dispositions, and I want to protect them, and let them come out to see the sun. He denies that part of himself, and in any case, does not want to explore it. The position seems self-abnegating to a tragic degree, and I am so attracted to the thing under the depths I cannot fathom that he rejects it. At the same time, I wonder how much I am seeing something that isn't there? It feels incredibly real to me, but if it has so little substance that its ego cannot acknowledge it... I just don't know. I don't know who he is, though I am coming to see that who he wishes to be is a scary and disturbing entity. I know his desire to be tranquil is profound, but I cannot empathize with it. There is a very real sense in which I cannot, myself, engage with that person who wants to skate along peacefully, denying all the trauma and angst buried in the ice. Which is somewhat paradoxical given my own desire to engage. I wish to engage, except with disengagement, I suppose.
My words! You've taken them again! Come back here with those! In my case, there's a mixture of denial of self and explicit rejection of exploring his feelings on his part a well. He's also quite emotionally expressive and is denies that it is so. He's detached from awareness of them, yet they're still affecting him, and as far as I can see, working perfectly well despite his protests of being emotionally absent and having no depth. The absence isn't real and he can't see any depth because he's cut himself off from it.
 

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I'm honestly not sure what you mean by saying that you don't seek "stability." Do you mean you don't want to be static? It seems you are describing something else, but I can't quite understand it. The way you describe your desire for "someone to share" your insights with, it sounds very monogamous, like you want ONE PERSON with whom you can share all of these things. I wonder if that's true. Would you feel equally satisfied if you had a number of partners (friends, lovers, therapists, whomever) none of whom could individually connect with you enough to satisfy you, but who could do so collectively? Speaking for myself, I think a connection that is equally deep and broad is too much to ask of one person. I feel like seeking this puts too much pressure on any particular relationship. I need several personal 'connections' in my life, and I'm OK with that.

It's interesting you say that about the therapist. I have never found a therapist I synced with. I haven't gone crazy trying, but I've certainly put in some time and with a handful of different people (maybe 7 total?) and every time has been: meh. Not like they are terrible or incompetent, but they generally do not bring a great deal of insight to my situation. They often seem to have their own hobby horses that they beat with more or less subtlety, and a predetermined worldview into which they are trying to fit the details of my life and person.

Moreover, there is something very inert, disengaged, and passive about the process in my experience. There is insufficient intellectual spark to the discussions, no sense that the therapist is willing to be pushed and challenged, or, paradoxically, push and challenge you. Most therapy training comes with a fair amount of intellectual/theoretical baggage that is insufficiently investigated, and the therapists never seem willing or able to make this baggage explicit or argue its merits. I also become irritated by the background sense that you are expected to agree with each other, that it is not acceptable for the therapist and client to take up a different perspective on something of psychological importance. There is also a not-very-subtle way of steering things towards benign, optimistic platitudes. It's not acceptable to just have the view that life sucks, or there is just no unproblematic way to interact with your mother in law, or whatever. Sometimes I really want to argue with the therapists about their own background commitments. Given the volatility of what can be discussed, the manifest polite and formulaic quality of the interactions rubs me the wrong way. Also- I feel horrible and arrogant saying this- but I have never been intellectually impressed by a therapist, which makes it hard to respect their commentary as authoritative, especially when it seems suspiciously easy and anodyne. I have also known quite a few therapy lovers who do not seem improved by the experience.

Well that turned into quite a rant. :rolleyes: I've just never found therapists as insightful as friends for discussing the important matters of my life. Even though it is nominally a safe and socially disconnected space for exploring one's feelings openly and honestly, I find it to be less fruitful, less open, and certainly less interesting than conversations with those who are in fact more invested in me and the outcome, in part because of the explicit, back-and-forth challenge that goes along with such conversations.

How many therapists did you try before you found this one whose opinion you respect? Do you think it was a fortunate accident to happen upon her?



I was actually referring to people who have projective layers, rather than defensive layers. That is, some people are fundamentally unwilling to engage with others on a deep and honest level. They will only hear certain kinds of things and acknowledge certain viewpoints; whatever doesn't obviously fit with their preconceptions gets ignored or 'reinterpreted.' The process is probably defensive in nature, nonetheless, I am not particularly sympathetic to the impulse because it seems very disrespectful to treat others this way, as an accessory to your own worldview rather than a person with views and feelings in their own right. It is especially frustrating when the projections are not immediately obvious, so you spend a lot of time and effort explaining yourself to someone only to find out that they weren't even listening.

I can't imagine not being hurt by the refusal of a person you want to know to let you in. I feel this is rejection in its most fundamental form, again, a refusal even to honestly interact. I can be incredibly private and aloof, but I think this is partially a response to the fact that most people do not wish to honestly interact with me. I don't know how much of this is about me personally, and the kinds of things I say and do when I am open, and how much is about not wanting to engage with anyone at all (like the projective personalities I was describing above). I have a strong sense, deeply rooted in childhood and not particularly considered, that other people will react badly if I let them in, so I should keep my thoughts and feelings to myself so as not to attract unwanted attention. It's not terribly hard for me most of the time, since my natural tendency is to turn inwards and get lost in my thoughts. But I don't like feeling that I having to hide myself away. It feels like adopting exactly that superficial, spectral persona that most frustrates me in others. Maybe I wouldn't like people; maybe they wouldn't like me, but I'd just like to know instead of wondering and speculating. I would prefer to be open and let the chips fall where they may. I am working on this, but people can be both easily threatened and very difficult to read.

Often I think others' disengagement with the outside world stems from a fundamental disengagement with themselves, and there is no getting around this. If someone doesn't want to know themselves, or anyone else, I really see no point in talking to them. It was very painful to have this realization about my friend recently because he seems very interesting to me. I have a deep sense that he is very much worth knowing, if only I could clear away the clutter and get to the core of him. But he made it disturbingly clear that he is NOT interested in this kind of conversation, in part because he sees it as negative and painful. He is not interesting in 'focusing on the negative' in himself, or in anyone else. He would rather ignore these parts of life. He might as well have told me that 2+2=5. :confused: There is nowhere to go from there.



I appreciate your sympathy; and- as you might expect- yowl in resonant irritation especially at the bolded parts above. Generally speaking, I am not a judgmental sort; I am content to observe all the different ways of moving through the world with great fascination and accept that other people's priorities, outlook and choices may diverge sharply from my own. I want to know their perspectives, but I don't expect some common denominator that binds us all together and renders each person's outlook compatible with all the others. In spite of this, I have to say, I just have a lot of trouble accepting that, when it comes to disengagement with what is painful, other people are "just different and I need to simply accept that." In this respect, I do judge others. Although I almost never make ethical proclamations, I feel impulsively that there is something simply wrong about going through life that way. It seems we are in the same boat on this one, and it does strike me as a very four-ish boat indeed. Perhaps we suffer from the same peculiar bayou-born ailment. :wink:

My goal in life is not pleasure or happiness or enlightenment or faith or peace; my goal is to engage. I want to see what there is to see, know what there is to know, and feel what there is to feel. There is a raw hunger, an avaricious greed that is part and parcel of my outlook. I want it all, the good and the bad, and I don't want to exclude certain experiences before I get out out of the gate. I don't want homogeneity; I don't want tranquility; I want the big hot mess, with all its pleasures and pains. I want to take it all in, and then transform in like a prism into something else. I want to experience, process, and create anew.

Probably my greatest personal tragedy is that I have stifled my own creative powers. I'm not sure how much I even had them, but I know that, in order to function, they have to be unbridled and unconfined, and I do not have that now, nor do I know how to get it. My intellectual/personal journey, undertaken to channel and sharpen my knowledge and insight, ended up curtailing them, partially by rousing an anxiety disorder that makes every expression painfully mediated and self-conscious and partially by honing a critical power that is genuine, but reinforces the anxiety and makes me unable to see past my own flaws. I have reduced my capacity for conversation to painful stuttering, gutteral utterances that express only suppression and frustration. It's as if I have an accidental, self-inflicted wound to the throat. Now I'm stuck in the disturbing, gurgling anguish of a person drowning in her own blood. My beating, pulsing life force has been unleashed against itself.



I have to say, I didn't follow this very much. I am also empathetic, but it is not empathy to what is expressed. Rather, I feel like I am empathetic to some underlying emotion that is often hidden away. With my friend, one of the things that drew me to him is a sense of deep, welling hurt and sadness. Although he often seems easy-going, peaceful, unbothered, I don't sympathize with those. They seem like masks hiding something very interesting and intense and painful underneath the veneer. I sympathize with those underlying dispositions, and I want to protect them, and let them come out to see the sun. He denies that part of himself, and in any case, does not want to explore it. The position seems self-abnegating to a tragic degree, and I am so attracted to the thing under the depths I cannot fathom that he rejects it. At the same time, I wonder how much I am seeing something that isn't there? It feels incredibly real to me, but if it has so little substance that its ego cannot acknowledge it... I just don't know. I don't know who he is, though I am coming to see that who he wishes to be is a scary and disturbing entity. I know his desire to be tranquil is profound, but I cannot empathize with it. There is a very real sense in which I cannot, myself, engage with that person who wants to skate along peacefully, denying all the trauma and angst buried in the ice. Which is somewhat paradoxical given my own desire to engage. I wish to engage, except with disengagement, I suppose.

Sleep beckons....
Well, honest interaction, yes, that appeals to me. And I'm quite capable of empathy and passionate writing given a motivation or provocation. And I will pull myself to pieces rather than challenge the other person...

indeed I find your posts very interesting - underneath. Projecting and sensing out with Fi, there is a difference but it can be hard to determine it. I like your depths and they sometimes resonate with mine.
 
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Re -- your post #985 this thread:

tl;dr;bvmwic ("but very much wish I could...")

Something like etheric ripples in my Ni, tells me that there are diamonds to be mined here, if I had the time.
Maybe this weekend?

...thanks for writing, e'en though I have only been ungracious and rude in this response. (It's my stymiedness talking.)
 

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The following parts of what you wrote really spoke to me:



I, too, "speak simply because I enjoy the conversation." This has been an incredibly fulfilling aspect of PerC for me, getting to have these kinds of conversations that can otherwise be excruciatingly hard to come by. Part of it is clearly a self-selection effect, i.e., the people who are on PerC are overwhelmingly more interested in these kinds of conversations than the population at large. Moreover, this is probably one situation in which the much-discussed distance inherent in online relationships is quite beneficial. Talking about one's husband's affair, or one's own suicidal impulses, or one's ambivalence about one's transgender child is much more complicated with people you might see at the grocery store or the office party. The relative control we have over online relationships definitely allows us to be more open and experimental than we might otherwise be, because of legitimate fears about the practical consequences of such comments amongst everyday associates.

I hope I didn't seem too defensive or churlish with my "Lest you think I am embedded in a dark spiral" comment. In spite of the relative distance of online conversations, I have noticed that people still treat talk of suicide with kid gloves, becoming immediately alarmed and comforting rather than direct and engaged. This is not without reason (after all, one does not want to ignore any 'cry for help') and I have engaged in the behavior myself, expressing concern for people who seem like they might be in a state of psychological distress. In awareness of all this, I wanted to make clear that my interest in talking about the subject was conversation rather than desperation. After all, those two perspectives DO merit different responses.



This is an incredible thing to hear, and made me positively levitate. :kitteh: I, too, find these moments of understanding genuinely ecstatic. They are blissful, comforting and exciting all at the same time, amongst the best experiences life has to offer. My extreme introversion and tendency to withdraw notwithstanding, it is almost always better to share these profound thoughts and moments with someone else. This is not to say that they are not rewarding in and of themselves, but having no one to share an insight with, no one to grasp your perspective and appreciate your pleasure, feels lonely and barren.



Yes; for me also my envy flares most dramatically in response to the loss of a connection I had or the observation of connections between others (again, either between two people or between a person and a subject they deeply understand). I crave those things. I can't get enough, so even when I have a lot, seeing other people having some kind of connection that I don't have but would like to have makes me insanely covetous. I want more. I want that too. I don't begrudge other people having it, but the very fact of their having it and my not having it makes me feel diminished, inadequate. It is an incredibly greedy impulse.

At the same time, it is not a completely promiscuous impulse. I'm not searching for any kind of connection. I have a very strong sense of myself and my own interests. If someone seeks to connect with me in a way I can't feel (because they are misjudging me or misreading me, even in a positive way), I reject it. The connection has to be visceral in order to have value, which is one reason being misjudged is itself so painful. If you don't see me, you cannot possibly connect with me. If you see some doppleganger configured in a fashion that is more relatable, you have enclosed me behind a wall before you even reached out to touch me. That act may not be intentional or spiteful, but it is so frustrating it makes me feel like lava is bubbling out of my eyes and ears and mouth.

Ironically, right after I posted about my lack of identification with 9, and my withdrawing response to the frustration of a connecting impulse (in response to Thaumaturgic Theorist's post about my seeming 9ish), I happened to get a call from a close friend who is an archetypical 9 and with whom I have a strong connection but also a lot of differences and a fairly volatile relationship. (I wrote a long post about it which I accidentally erased :angry:.) It's a long story, but I had had him and his wife and kids over for dinner a few days before. There is a lot of tension between them (she wants to separate), and the tension was very out in the open and they both tried to draw me into it (in different ways) and that made me really uncomfortable, which is what I had wanted to talk to him about.

He was quite stressed (both my me and by other factors in his life) and he became angry and we had an argument. It was actually useful, because he was much more honest than he had been before. His anger let him tap into feelings he had not been acknowledging or expressing, and it was very illuminating while also being incredibly hurtful. I felt utterly rejected by the end of the call because he made it clear that some of my strongest and (in my own view) best features are simply annoying and frustrating to him. He revealed that he hates all my 'drama,' 'constant analysis of everything' and 'focusing on the negative.' He just wants us to relax and enjoy each other and ignore any tensions and problems because focusing on them makes him upset and doesn't get us anywhere.

To me, whenever I see him he brings all this stress and angst with him. He always talks about his problems (never mine; he never asks about me). I am a good listener, nonjudgmental, and happy to talk about his problems with him. BUT, I simply cannot then put them out of my mind and pretend they don't exist, or that I'm not upset when his problems end up causing problems for me (like at the uncomfortable dinner). He may talk about problems as a way to put them out of his mind, but I am the opposite. I know I do overpersonalize things, and get hurt by things which may not really be about me. It's a great trait but you know, that's who I am. I'm also a very loyal and supportive friend; I feel like you have to be able to take the good with the bad or else it can't work.

Anyway, I came out of the conversation feeling that we really cannot be good friends to each other. He brings me down with his constant problems he wants to vent about but then ignore and not even try to solve, and with his irritated, passive-agressive avoidance, especially towards me when his issues end up affecting me and I want to talk to him about it. I bring him down by getting stressed by his problems, and by wanting to constantly talk about things he'd rather ignore.

I still love him and value him and think he's a good person at heart, and more than that I feel a genuine connection to him. But our friendship is really killing me, and I don't think we can ever work these issues out. Now the I see that it the friendship is also hurting him and bringing him down I know I need to end it, for both our sakes. The fact that who I am is so stressful and painful for him feels terrible, as does my burgeoning awareness that all my efforts to be a good friend were for naught. I feel deeply wasted and rejected, but I have to get over it and put it behind me. It's going to be hard because I end up seeing him a lot given other life circumstances, and he will want to put on the happy face every time and act like we're still great friends. If I act like that, I will get sucked into the same cycle. I need a stronger break, and I don't know how to create it.

This is a long rant apropos of nothing in particular; it just happened to occur in the midst of all this discussion of connections with other people, and what it is like to be a 9 and thus I've associated it. What set me off, I suppose, was your comment about how connection/loss of connection evokes a strong response in you. It certainly does in me, and now I find myself chagrinned both by the strength of my reaction and the terrible feelings elicited by having the connection broken/rejected/fail to be cherished by another person. I don't think this is all that unusual, but clearly he is put together differently. He would prefer the appearance of tranquility over an actual connection, with all the push and pull and pain that comes along with it. I cannot imagine having that response; it feels completely alien and alienating. I feel hurt by his response to the connection, but I also pity him because it makes him seem so dead. I cannot imagine choosing to live that way.
I kind of just have to say something about this - I don't know the man concerned nor do I know you, but surely he needs your support right now and if you pull back from being his friend he will think it is due to the difficulties in his marriage, won't he? He probably has enough emotional overload and push-pull with his wife right now and I quite understand him not wishing to open another can of worms with you in the middle of that!

i don't think he meant not to cherish you, indeed he may well have felt that talking deeply with you was revealing of himself, including sharing strong emotions such as anger which can feel to be quite a trusting move... You are clearly sensitive enough to have picked up his feelings of broken connections and rejection, have you not considered that you may have simply been picking up and experiencing *his* current pain broadcasting or leaking out from underneath his conscious surface? Like your sonar device 'feels' the way he does?

Maybe pull a little backwards from him, maybe, but give it plenty of time and take several readings before you make a decision...it sounds like your emotions drew you in to resonate in a volatile situation in which he can't be supportive of you. Doesn't mean he doesn't care about you - you know as much from what you say initially.
 

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I had to cut my hair today, I need to change to a more conventional style, so now it's short. I miss my hairs... While my new hairstyle suits me well enough, I can't even recognized myself in the mirror, I see an average guy through my 4 lens, I feel like I lost something that made me different. You can't be creative with short hairs...

edit: oh, and wow, lots of catch up to do, I missed a lot of interesting posts.
 

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I mean stability in my internal sense of self and my life, aside from intimate relationships. If I go through a year and come out feeling like the same person who went in, I feel that was a wasted year. My impossible ideal is indeed to have one person with whom I share everything and they do too, that we both have the same outlook on growing and changing as individuals, that somehow this outlook never affects our relationship, and that I never need to reach out to anyone else to get what I need in terms of intimacy. Monogamy isn't a deal breaker for me (My LTR that ended last year was monogamous for all but a year or two fairly early on), but I couldn't begin to deal with someone who is possessive and jealous, as I'll end up choosing between that relationship and being in the world properly, and without the latter, the relationship will fail. So there's a degree of openness and trust that I absolutely require and am glad to reciprocate.

I don't believe that being both deep and broad puts too much pressure on a relationship, I believe that doing so, in the context of them being the One True Person does that. I'd rather relax that latter constraint and have less practical commitment in life than reduce the scope of the connection in terms of intimacy. If I have to choose between being everything to someone, and being deeply intimate with them, I choose the latter. My experience thus far has been that this is indeed a choice I have to make, because of the conflicts between my desire to grow and change as a person and to see others around me do the same, and my desire to have someone be right there with me all the way. That's a combination that's highly unstable, so my theory on how to deal with that is to let relationships ebb and flow, although I find that very difficult. I first had to try the opposite of putting the relationship first and learn that I destroy myself in the process - doing that cannot work for me.



I've had exactly one good one out of probably 6 or 7, maybe more. It's hard to keep track of unremarkable people from long ago. Even with her, we've had a lot more conflict lately. If we hadn't been working together for many years on and off, I'd have given up on working with her. I came very close about 6 months ago and chose to confront instead. There's a certain magic that's never quite been there again, but it's still been useful. This one has a few obvious external traits that I believe relate to my finding her productive to work with: She's older (now semi-retired) and did research work as well as clinical, and focused her career on a subpopulation that I'm part of. Most critically, she can keep up. She challenges me, she's quite intellectually capable, and rarely insists that she must be right about something, she accepts that some things just suck and can't be fixed, and listens to what I'd like help with.

With others the pattern has been, try a few sessions, get useless superficial advice, and recognize that they still haven't caught up to the heavily simplified pieces I'm trying to lay out for them which have already changed significantly in my understanding of them. Many of them get bonus points by claiming I'm making things too complicated. It feels awful, it makes matters worse, etc. I've found one or two others who didn't have the laundry list of flaws, but they just couldn't keep up, so I didn't keep going to them, though I might if I were stuck in a deep depression and needed someone locally. (My current therapist is in NJ) It's worth noting that in some sense, they're right, things aren't that complicated, but because intellectualization is one of my major defenses, I've needed someone who can challenge that effectively. That may no longer be true, now that I've recognized it as such.

I don't feel I can comment on friends being just as insightful. When I've tried to make friends who connect that much with me, they wander off or become avoidant. Story of my life, so it's hard not to take it personally. I suspect I exhaust them, and I've been told that my intellect can be quite intimidating to others in my field (which makes me want to cry as this is the last thing I want to be seen for), so bonding over that stuff often doesn't work out as well as I'd hope either. I do think, in principal, that this is true, and I've certainly moments when discussing with friends had a much bigger impact than my therapist. In general though, I feel clueless when it comes to close friendships as I've never had one that stuck long enough to get that depth.



Very much so. Others have been helpful in getting me through depression, because I slow down dramatically when I'm there, but that's really the only thing they've helped with. There's been a rather painful trend in my life that I can very rarely find someone who can help me accomplish something I care about. I try, over and over, and I do it, even when it's not actually helpful, just because I hate feeling that lonely. But in the end, eyes go back to me for what to do next. It seems I choose between leading and withdrawing, when I want the friendly challenge and, sometimes, competition between equals.



Projection is a defense that tends to cut me more deeply than others, which makes sense, what with the 4 defense being introjection. I feel sadness that they're, deep down, too hurt to be open to the world. But my patience for that quickly wears thin when it becomes clear that they intend to remain that way.



I feel similarly about all the bolded parts. That belief that people will react badly to me is terribly hard for me, because my instinct is to keep reaching out, always, and never stop, even when it's very difficult, especially when it's difficult. If I feel confused about something someone has said, and I can't make sense of it, I want to confront this until it is resolved, and my instinct is to just keep going until it is or I am told clearly to stop. I have very little capacity to accept areas that are unresolved and off limits. I can probably live with one if someone is very important and the matter isn't too much, but it never is quite the same.

To be clear, my belief that being more open would lead to bad things is rooted in real childhood experience. The absolutely last thing I could be with my parents was open; they were much too reactive and struggling to keep themselves together, and with one of them, it became an issue of physical safety as well, that I learned to manipulate rather than being open. How I wish I could cut that ability out of me, but I do tend to disarm it by being as explicit as I can get away with about my faults, my weaknesses.



Yes, it breaks my heart too. I've recently started accepting this conclusion about someone who had the very rare ability to leave me feeling intellectually challenged in a manner concordant with my values. I've probably said this before, but this latest insult added to the long history of rejection is trigger for my present anger at the world and all of those who want to use me but not know me.



I love the connection you've drawn between the outlook and location. One of the biggest shocks I got leaving NOLA was that, for most of the english speaking world, life revolves around material accomplishment. This does not resonate with me at all. To me, life is about exploring inside and out, connecting and growing as people, and accomplishments are side effects of that, the way we practice the art of living, not the purpose of living.



Every word of this, yes, yes, yes! I get excited, aroused even, reading this. Because yeah. That. So much that. Every word and never want to stop. Uh, was that TMI?



Oh my, do we have something in common in our pathological use of intellect? If so, that's a first. I couldn't snap out of it until I saw it reach a very bitter end.



Oh good. When I reread what I wrote there, neither could I.



My words! You've taken them again! Come back here with those! In my case, there's a mixture of denial of self and explicit rejection of exploring his feelings on his part a well. He's also quite emotionally expressive and is denies that it is so. He's detached from awareness of them, yet they're still affecting him, and as far as I can see, working perfectly well despite his protests of being emotionally absent and having no depth. The absence isn't real and he can't see any depth because he's cut himself off from it.
So much here...that 'challenge has to be in a manner concordant with your values' - a perfect summation of what I know to be true of reaching people...

Your description of therapists confirms all that I have ever surmised about the process of paying for advice of that kind, although I have never even once tried therapy. Thank you.

And your brilliant description and passionate rejection of the projection onto yourself of the views and opinions of others, which is a trait of the Enneagram One I believe. Love it. Too long I lived under the projection of another, altering my self anxiously to please and believing that what was spoken must have been in me somewhere...crazy fruitless searching...

I am interested in your anger, whether it lies close to driving motivation and passion for you or whether you seek to suppress or internalise it? I identify with E8 for anger, do you also? You sound so very thoroughly *real*...

Oh, and also...the almost throwaway line 'those who want to use me but not to know me'. I'd love to hear you expound on the difference internally there...how do you know the difference *internally* here? I mean, how do you know *that* is the problem or the issue as compared to the situation where 'you don't believe they truly want you and so self detonate and withdraw judgmentally' - thus making a self fulfilling prophecy? Don't you think that sometimes something can seem too good to be true and the doubt hits self esteem and self value plummets into disbelief of the good intentions of the other? Or do you think it plays out in other ways?
 
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Yes, they're frustratingly hard to come by. My brother tells me everyone has something they like to talk in depth about, but he's entirely satisfied with a conversation that's purely intellectually stimulating. As for relative control and fear, I see that rationally, yet don't see it reflected in my behavior. I suppose compared to a room of people, I'm less guarded in forums, but it's more the written format than any sense of anonymity. I'm tend strongly toward fearlessly open, my hesitance comes largely out of social concern for others, not my desire to hold back. There are a few things I tend not to advertise in public, but not much of anything I'm not willing to talk to a total stranger about if I get the right feeling about them.



Not at all; it's good to have clarity. I hadn't thought to put words to it before, but my gut was saying you weren't reaching out from an unusually dangerous decline in your well being. What kind of 4s would we be if we couldn't accept such things as part of our life experience? Appearances can be very deceiving, but I also know that you have to meet people where they feel comfortable and go from there. If there is suicidal depression, I'll do whatever I can, and I hope no one would hesitate to reach out to me if they feel a desire to, especially if they're in a difficult place; I'm always glad to be there for someone in need.



I'm really glad to hear that. :happy: I manage a few per month typically, although there've been times when they almost flow like water. Having someone in my life who wants to take the time to keep up with all that would be priceless. One reason I've stuck with the therapist I've used for so long, is she's the only one I've found that can and will keep up, although we don't talk often enough for that anymore. As much as I love those experiences, I'd trade a fair bit of those away if doing so could bring someone to share them with. Not that it does, if anything, it only accelerates the pace.

On the other side, anyone who doesn't want that, I tend to feel can't connect with me in a long term way. I develop myself rapidly. I like to think it's growth. If they don't want to keep up with the insights and consequent changes, at bare minimum, they aren't actually staying connected with me. I can't blame them, it's a lot to take in, and catching up can be tough. I find this aspect of myself rather isolating, but I'm just not a stability seeking person; I've grown quite cynical about stability, though I once felt the appeal, and I see it has some virtue. It's frustrating at times, but attempting to slow or stop this has been near catastrophic for me, so I know that's not the answer. I must simply allow things to be as they are. I suspect I'd exhaust you with that easily, but I'm open to being wrong. :happy:



Yes! All of that, since... forever! It wouldn't be so bad were it not the one thing I most desperately want. I have a laundry list of defenses to cope with that feeling that it's missing. Objectively, I'm not sure how much is real and how much is wanting a depth that most people would be uncomfortable with.



I'm not promiscuous in that sense either, although I seem to broadcast enough, whatever it is, that I only occasionally recognize people reaching for a connection I don't want. I have confused people occasionally by having what they consider deep intellectual conversations, because they find that fulfilling, they feel connected by it, whereas I find it only a bit more so than watching TV. I have them mainly to create the opportunity for connection, and out of boredom. Most of the time, though, at least IRL, I very quickly know if I want to know a person well. Random sidetrack: a google search tied to this lead to this banned book, which I now feel I ought to own an original copy of: The Housewifes Handbook on Selective Promiscuity

I don't have quite the same reaction to people who have defensive layers like that. Some of the most interesting people I've met needed that to get by in the world. At the same time, if I'm not a person they want to let in, I take that very, very personally. Just as a child would though, I keep reaching out, even though it keeps hurting. Giving up isn't an option, although I'll certainly let go of trying to connect with someone who doesn't want to let me in. How long that takes seems to depend on how much potential I feel.



Sorry 'bout your lost post, that's painful, I know. :th_sad: Keeping our friends from being put in the middle was thankfully one thing my ex and I agreed strongly about. There were a few we mutually agreed were much closer to one of us and we'd not try to maintain that neutrality with, and the rest have said we've been quite respectful of each other to them. It's hard sometimes, but when someone tries to be friends with two people who later take issue with each other, I feel it's just destructive of that friendship, and hurtful to the person, to push them to take sides.

I see how anger can be illuminating. I can struggle to deal well with anger directed at me, but I'll take it over hiding and passive aggression any day, unless the person is unwilling to allow me to express my emotional reactions to what is directed at me. That pattern can end things for me for sure. Now if someone just needs to vent about the world, yeah, I'm glad to listen and not dump my own feelings on top, other than to express whatever sympathies I have.



I screamed with rage and a desire to strangle people when I read this. Sometimes I feel I'm in a world run by sevens, and I'm so sick of their denial of all things not bright and shiny, their fear of understanding, and I'm so sick of having to choose between being unwanted and being myself. The avoidance just makes me sick and so angry, because somehow, it always seems to come down to blaming me for the problems that come from their refusal to accept that life can be painful and difficult and complicated. And then, on the other side, you have the nihilists who can't see any potential. WHAT IS SO AWFUL ABOUT SEEING THE WORLD AS IT IS?!?! DENIAL SOLVES NOTHING. The next person who tells me to look on the bright side is going to meet with an unfortunate fate. I am being an optimist, you fucking asshole; I'm already doing my best to find and emphasize positive opportunities and you're try to sugar coat it further. :frustrating::angry: I'd say I want to set the world on fire over this, but it seems these idiots have that well in hand.

Huh. Seems I did have something to rant about. To be perfectly clear, none of you here on PerC are why I'm upset about this.



I couldn't deal with that either. I'd feel rejected for who I am; What could be worse?



I'm struggling with these questions myself, so I have no answers, only musings and sympathy. It sounds like we're different in this, but when I feel a strong connection with someone, I empathize with their mood compulsively, so this can be hard if they're genuinely happy, or really good at acting so. I feel my line to two all too well. To try to break out of that, I'm trying to stay in touch with my anger, as a way to externalize my feelings of hurt. So far... mixed results. There's just too much holding back all around in the most similar thing I have going on. When I feel connected to someone, confronting, not withdrawing, has been the only way I ever feel something is resolved, and I when I can't get that on an emotional level, I struggle a great deal.



All of this, +1000. I can't tell you how many times I feel like grabbing people and shaking them over this. What are they doing with their lives?!? I wish I could make them wake up. And I know they're probably just different and I need to simply accept that, but I can't begin to understand, to relate to that, it just feels terribly sad and broken. I know that if it is defensiveness, this will only put their walls up more, so I fight this feeling down on so many levels. I'm done fighting myself down like that, but reconciling that shift with my ethics is an ongoing process for me.

Under all my desire to push against the world, of course, as with you, I'm badly hurt and vulnerable. I can only hope that in showing my feelings honestly and openly, I find people who do get me. I'm deeply afraid that this won't work, but I have so little left to loose socially, and sometimes that emboldens me, other times, I feel every gentle breeze with the force of a hurricane.

Thank you for this, and to others, for the having patience with the wear on your scroll wheel. :wink:
Working my way backwards up this thread...systematic in a stupidly reversed sort of a way. I love depth of connection now but there was a time when I ran away from anyone I felt strongly about. Now, I try to pursue them and see whether they feel the same connection to me that I do to them. And it's made a huge difference to how valued I feel about myself and at my core. Slow journey into maelstrom from stony myrmidon... But shaking off the crusty layers and letting a connection and a sense of shared values be a fast pass method into depth of friendship doesn't mean I can circumvent the internal subconscious landmines and spiderwebs for my erstwhile new pal to fall into. I guess I have to let them experience the real me and I can't stop that unconscious finding and researching and exploring and questioning and experiencing of me, as you say it is what makes life tick, but I have to trust them to keep pursuing me even when I am being totally unreasonably elusively vaporously illogical. And of course I pursue them because I know there is a heart there which I can beat in time with. Sigh.
 
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I'm very much with you on that appreciation for understanding other people's process and impressions. I too dislike excessive thinking. So little gets said in so many words. So much more happens across the boundaries, and that space between is what speaks most to me.

Enneagram is tricky to me, because before you can try a type on, you have to make that unfamiliar suit from instructions and notes scribbled in the margins. Then when it feels funny, well, you don't really know, did you make it wrong, or do you just not feel comfortable in it. I've found uncertainty of interpretation is inevitable, though, when saying something meaningful, as anything simpler couldn't say anything much at all, so it's all good.



It's not mine to know where you are or where you're headed; I speak simply because I enjoy the conversation. If it is good for you, I hope you continue, and if not, please feel free to tell me off. :happy: I do generally pull myself up when I see self destructive thoughts getting serious. I grew tired of letting myself get that lost in that, so little seemed to come to me for going that far down, but much time was lost to it. Dives into self destructive feelings need to be quick for me, look closely, then come up for air, pause, and carefully reflect. On the other hand, sometimes I find myself skittering over the top of sad feelings, and I'll go dig up the saddest movie I can find to get past that chatter and plunge fully into those feelings for days or weeks. There's so much beauty cloaked in sadness; how could I refuse?

I do find the need to be alone and uninterrupted when I reach the precipice of understanding, and I do withdraw to get that. Often it's very tense, uncomfortable stuff, yet when I'm able to get through it, I feel a profound sense of calm and peace for a while. Writing this brought me to one of those; I ended up scrapping all that I'd been trying to say and starting over from my new perspective. Thanks for that; such breakthroughs are a big reason why I like having these conversations.

As for connections and the loss thereof, this is where my envy really comes out. *sigh* Worldly successes just deepen the pain of this, as I feel wanted only for what I least value in myself, with one or two exceptions, long lost. :crying: I feel hurt enough to want to hurt someone back (which is very rare), but there's no one else to be angry at, and I'm sure that continuing to spew that at people who've tried to be kind to me will only make things worse, not to mention that it just seems wrong. (I added this paragraph last - there is a jump in my state of mind out of the happy calm place - so it may seem jarring.)



I feel that is the raw energy of life itself, the very essence of existence and I don't know how anyone lives a satisfying life without such awareness. Sometimes I think I'm struggling to harness it well, but other times I recognize that as a fallacy, that it just is, and I can reflect it clearly, or try to fight it. It's my own resistance to accept what is that is the struggle. That, or it's my resistance to self acceptance. Perhaps those are one and the same.

It feels disorienting and overwhelming, having all that chaos flood in most of the time. Sometimes it seems crazy, impossible, etc. At times, I've tried to hold it all back, but recently I've come to understand that this force is what brings all that is good into my life. And although my profession is technical, it is this underlying light that has brought me success there in spite of my weak logic skills. It has literally fed, clothed, and sheltered me, and I've only recently understood that. I can scarcely imagine who I'd be without it, so much has this has infused everything I do.

It breaks my heart to see so much of that energy turned to the ways of machines and corporations, but that's another story, a story that we're all caught up in, one way or another. I feel this horrible sense that I finally see what I've been doing with my life in the absence of facing myself, being utterly repulsed and, yet, rather trapped in doing so, at least for the time being. That's a story for another day though.



With regards to anger, yes, perhaps. I've been ignorant of mine for a while. I think I disintegrated toward two for some years recently, and I seem to have a 9 fix that I get into, especially when I'm very overwhelmed. I'm grasping for reference points now, trying to make sense of it all. Both in this, and as a whole, yes, people are fascinating inside, and I desperately miss the few times in my life when I've not had to hold my instincts in this back tightly.



I too react most strongly to four descriptions. I'm in a particularly pleasant, calm place right now, and perhaps just as tellingly, when I read of the others, I feel sadness, empathy for their plight. But when I get to four, I just have this sense that something is off, but I can't grasp what it is. There's a certain puzzlement, a "what's wrong with that?" But I dig in deeper, and find the reminders of all these painful spots, and from this place I'm in right now, I hope to really see them, to heal them. There's still a lot I can't quite reconcile, especially the interplay of the instincts and type. I read it, I parse it, but it doesn't feel like it fits together yet, it all seems twisted around and confusing and I can't yet grasp why.



Sometimes I wonder if Enneagram makes more sense as a way to understand certain ways we get stuck, rather than having to do with identity or personality in a permanent way. Perhaps it is helpful in seeing how certain patterns go together, pointing us toward places we should examine more closely, or perhaps it's the act of trying to understand the blessed thing that does it. If nothing else, I'm sure it's useful to understand these systems, if only to give us a language to speak of the patterns.

There was a time, almost a year ago now, when my Myers-Briggs type codified something I desperately needed to recognize and have recognized about myself, and connected me to people who understood that. In time though, I got comfortable with the deeper, non-type aspects which I needed to accept, and I've become less attached to the type. Not to mention I'm getting more extroverted, and, weirdly, relishing it.
I feel like this about Four, like it is me but not me, and I don't know why. If I averaged Five and Three, then the average is mem,which is how Four is made according to the book I read (Maitri), and yes that is me, and yet not me, as though I have the pattern pieces upside down or forgot to add the salt in the recipe. Frustrating.

And yes Maitri says that the true truth of who we are is Essence or Being or whatever (some call this unity with God, for example) and that we grasp these fragments of personality (the Enneatypes) and make our own selves out of our brokenness and need, she talks of working backwards upwards to find wholeness in letting go of the grasping and longing by various inner processes too many to list, for example letting go or facing the fear of not being special might then wander backwards into how we are all special in Essence...it's about insights and revelations in process for me too...

but I also now seek these in and with other people. I am tired of hunting alone for these treasures of wisdom and knowledge in the darkness of past pains. Someone who cares can help enormously as friends do, and I want to help them too on this journey. Mutual stripping bare for ... for all the reasons of honesty that you give, but also surely for love of the other, for love of truth and for love of self. And I suppose for love of Essence itself and freedom.
 
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@PurpleAmy I'm still working on my reply. Maybe I should just post the part that I've written rather than trying to respond to the whole post at once because we cover so many topics it takes too long even to just touch on the most significant ones in my reply... I want to talk about them all but, you know: time. :frustrating:

I kind of just have to say something about this - I don't know the man concerned nor do I know you, but surely he needs your support right now and if you pull back from being his friend he will think it is due to the difficulties in his marriage, won't he? He probably has enough emotional overload and push-pull with his wife right now and I quite understand him not wishing to open another can of worms with you in the middle of that!
@Dabbling thanks for jumping in; I genuinely appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts :happy: It is a complicated relationship, and I can't do it justice here, but my default thought has always been the same as yours: "surely he needs my support right now" which is what I have tried to do. However, our last conversation made me realize that 'my support' is not necessarily helpful to him because I stress him out. (I also had a revelation about how much he stresses me out, and how much that stress impacts him even if I don't want it to.) By hanging onto the friendship (with the intention of being 'supportive') I think I may actually be doing more harm than good, to both of us. He's never been a very good friend for me, honestly, but now I'm realizing that I may not be not be a good friend for him either.

I'm trying not to go into more detail than necessary (not a gift of mine), but suffice it to say that we have our own long history at this point, and I think we are both very angry at each other. There is a great deal of ambivalence on both our parts, but especially his, and part of his problem is that he doesn't like honesty and is a very avoidant person. I just can't have that kind of relationship without getting stressed and wanting to clear things up. His lack of honesty has led to a lot of problems for me, and for him (and his wife). Honesty is threatening and unpleasant for him; there is something almost pathological about it at times. I don't know how to interact with someone like that.

i don't think he meant not to cherish you, indeed he may well have felt that talking deeply with you was revealing of himself, including sharing strong emotions such as anger which can feel to be quite a trusting move... You are clearly sensitive enough to have picked up his feelings of broken connections and rejection, have you not considered that you may have simply been picking up and experiencing *his* current pain broadcasting or leaking out from underneath his conscious surface? Like your sonar device 'feels' the way he does?

Maybe pull a little backwards from him, maybe, but give it plenty of time and take several readings before you make a decision...it sounds like your emotions drew you in to resonate in a volatile situation in which he can't be supportive of you. Doesn't mean he doesn't care about you - you know as much from what you say initially.
This is an interesting set of comments. I think I don't fully understand the bolded part, above. I'm definitely oversensitive to his angst, which is very real even though he often wants to deny it. (He has said this actual thing: "I'm doing just great... yeah, I guess except for how my wife wants to divorce and my teenage daughter isn't speaking to me and I have no money and I'm worried I won't be able to pay my bills this month, but other than that I'm feeling really great right now.") I also sometimes involve myself in his angst unnecessarily (e.g. thinking it's about me when it's not), but so does he. That is what makes our dynamic so confusing and so emotionally loaded.

For example: I am friends with both of them. In the dinner that troubled me, she kept making rude comments about him to me like he wasn't sitting there listening. She was treating me as her ally against him. I did not agree with her or respond to her comments. I tried to be neutral, silent, change the subject, or use humor to defuse the tension ('do you two need to argue about this now? Just but leave me out of it; I can go hang out in the other room!').

He was obviously tense that night anyway (no surprise), but what was really odd was that he was very defensive and hostile towards me. He seemed to be letting off his tension towards her by using me as her punching bag stand-in. Maybe she would criticize him for x, by making a comment to me about how he always does x. He would respond by looking at me and talk about us both, e.g., "you two are always criticizing me about x. What is wrong with you guys?" even though I didn't say anything at all and didn't necessarily even agree with what she had said.

I didn't like the way she was using me to vent about him in his presence. But I really really didn't appreciate him blaming me for what she said and throwing irritable pot shots at me. The whole dynamic was very weird and uncomfortable. One thing is for sure: I'm not going to get together with the two of them together anymore. When I confronted him about his behavior a few days later and we argued, he was all over the map: admitting that he did it, then denying it. Continuing to criticize me for saying things I hadn't said. Throughout the conversation, he kept saying I was like his wife and called me by her name in the heat of anger. And yet he denies that he is conflating us, and doesn't understand why I have to bring it up and talk about with him and not just pretend everything is happy.

He's a nice person under a lot of stress, though with time I have come to realize that a great deal of his stress is his own doing. His constant problems can only be circumvented when he deals with his own issues. Maybe I should tell him that he's handling things just fine and everything will be OK, but I am not able to do that, especially when I get dragged into his messes. I do try to spend a lot of time listening to his views and stresses non-judgmentally and also give genuine sympathy and praise abundantly where it is warranted.

I don't want to stress the man out any more than he already is, but our interactions are also very heavy and a lot of serious issues get folded into them. Some of that undoubtedly comes from me, but at least as much is coming from him, and because of his allergy to honesty, his messages are conflicting and confusing. I cannot let this kind of stuff go because having it fester eats me alive. I need to talk it out and try to get some clarity. He doesn't want clarity. He wants me to pretend it's not happening, while dumping a tremendous amount of weight onto me that sometimes exceeds my tolerance. I have tried to improve things by talking, but he doesn't like to think about any of this. So maybe staying away from him is the kindest solution for everyone.
 

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And your brilliant description and passionate rejection of the projection onto yourself of the views and opinions of others, which is a trait of the Enneagram One I believe. Love it. Too long I lived under the projection of another, altering my self anxiously to please and believing that what was spoken must have been in me somewhere...crazy fruitless searching...
Arrived at via epic failure to do so and subsequent appreciation of the consequences. It seems nothing teaches quite so well as majorly screwing up.

I am interested in your anger, whether it lies close to driving motivation and passion for you or whether you seek to suppress or internalise it? I identify with E8 for anger, do you also? You sound so very thoroughly *real*...
It's not a motivation at all; that idea hadn't even occurred to me previously. Why would it be? :confused: I generally let mild annoyance show, but have a harder time showing serious anger in a healthy way because I tend to overreact severely.

My anger is indeed more 8ish than 6ish I think. I develop a sense of invulnerability. The resulting mindset is roughly:

When I do feel fear, I rarely confront it in the manner I expect of a CP6. I usually either stay with the fear or snap into invulnerability. It then takes me a while to settle back down enough to feel the vulnerability that set me off. If I'm not careful, I can stay in that state nearly indefinitely. Interestingly, the sense of invulnerability can look either much like courage, or much like patience, depending on how much control I believe I have available.

Oh, and also...the almost throwaway line 'those who want to use me but not to know me'. I'd love to hear you expound on the difference internally there...how do you know the difference *internally* here? I mean, how do you know *that* is the problem or the issue as compared to the situation where 'you don't believe they truly want you and so self detonate and withdraw judgmentally' - thus making a self fulfilling prophecy? Don't you think that sometimes something can seem too good to be true and the doubt hits self esteem and self value plummets into disbelief of the good intentions of the other? Or do you think it plays out in other ways?
My professional life has been rather unreasonably successful. When those skills are on offer, I get plenty of attention. But more than passing interest in me, as a person, I've only felt rarely. This is excruciating, because I feel I'm wanted most for what I least value in myself. I have this belief, backed by too many experiences, that want to me around for what I can do for them, not who I am. I have been told that I intimidate people intellectually, bright, very capable people, and I just want to crawl into a corner and cry over that; I'm so sick of pushing people away with something that has mostly made a mess of my life.

I have withdrawn out of exhaustion when my capacity to absorb what feels like repeated rejection is exceeded, but I tend to reach back out. What's far more likely to cause me to withdraw and stay that way is that I often reach too intensely when I do reach out, and that pushes people away. Issues, I has 'em. :wink:

I love depth of connection now but there was a time when I ran away from anyone I felt strongly about. Now, I try to pursue them and see whether they feel the same connection to me that I do to them. And it's made a huge difference to how valued I feel about myself and at my core. Slow journey into maelstrom from stony myrmidon…
Congratulations on overcoming that! I'm almost precisely the opposite. When I feel strongly about someone, I'll keep falling further and further apart until I pursue it and see where it goes, so I compulsively pursue connections, which is equally problematic. I've had to learn that I'm not always as intense as I fear, and that as long as I don't try to trap people, they can just

But shaking off the crusty layers and letting a connection and a sense of shared values be a fast pass method into depth of friendship doesn't mean I can circumvent the internal subconscious landmines and spiderwebs for my erstwhile new pal to fall into. I guess I have to let them experience the real me and I can't stop that unconscious finding and researching and exploring and questioning and experiencing of me, as you say it is what makes life tick, but I have to trust them to keep pursuing me even when I am being totally unreasonably elusively vaporously illogical. And of course I pursue them because I know there is a heart there which I can beat in time with. Sigh.
That's my view as well. But then, it's also a compulsion for me, so perhaps I've simply rationalized it.

I feel like this about Four, like it is me but not me, and I don't know why. If I averaged Five and Three, then the average is mem,which is how Four is made according to the book I read (Maitri), and yes that is me, and yet not me, as though I have the pattern pieces upside down or forgot to add the salt in the recipe. Frustrating.
Interesting; I've not read Maitri, just Chestnut. I did listen to a Naranjo lecture on subtypes too. Simple, straight up four resonates most strongly for me, but I can definitely also see elements of two, eight and nine quite clearly, and I haven't completely ruled out six and seven. Where I really get confused is that instincts seem to make perfect sense, out of the context of type, but when I try to put the two together, none of the 27 subtypes feel quite right, and a few only sound plausible as SP-dom, which looking at the instincts independently, doesn't make any sense at all. Tests, which I know are very unreliable, show the same pattern: my type + instinct pair suggestions are radically different from my pure type suggestions, and the suggestions largely match my self-typing based on reading and introspection. So the tests are as confused as I am, but we're confused together.

And yes Maitri says that the true truth of who we are is Essence or Being or whatever (some call this unity with God, for example) and that we grasp these fragments of personality (the Enneatypes) and make our own selves out of our brokenness and need, she talks of working backwards upwards to find wholeness in letting go of the grasping and longing by various inner processes too many to list, for example letting go or facing the fear of not being special might then wander backwards into how we are all special in Essence...it's about insights and revelations in process for me too…
I've also heard this described in terms of ego being a protective mechanism around the self. I try not to spend too much time staring at this aspect directly just yet, as I've had a history of feeling I grasp these things quickly, but later realizing that I was just intuiting what it would feel like to have grasped them and acting like that, without having actually recognized and resolved the issue in myself.

but I also now seek these in and with other people. I am tired of hunting alone for these treasures of wisdom and knowledge in the darkness of past pains. Someone who cares can help enormously as friends do, and I want to help them too on this journey. Mutual stripping bare for ... for all the reasons of honesty that you give, but also surely for love of the other, for love of truth and for love of self. And I suppose for love of Essence itself and freedom.
Deep down, I intensely crave deep human connection and the rest pretty much comes along for the ride. Love is very different from that to me. It's diffuse and giving, healing more than consuming, caring more than wanting. Ideally they run together, but sometimes they don't and that can be interesting as well. The intimacy drive sometimes overpowers my feelings of love, which I find rather upsetting to my values, but just the same, it is so.

I don't feel much love for truth; it's kinda been that friend that you've been through a lot of bad shit with and come to realize the bad shit came mostly from being around that friend… We keep in touch but we aren't close anymore.
 

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(Long description of anger/rejection/renewal-almost-against-your-wishes (reluctant phoenix syndrome) (TM) deleted for brevity
Have I your permission to stomp all over this with Te hobnailed boots, in an effort to seek, or obtain, or hold onto, clarity (like hammering a spike into the cliff while rock climbing, if it holds, it provides a new benchmark that will not suddenly be lost, and can be used as a starting point for subsequent efforts)...

Best wishes.
 

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Permission granted. I must admit: I'm not sure I have any concrete sense of your Te intentions vis a vis me ("clarity" is usually tied inextricably to the perspective of the beholder) but that makes it all the more intriguing. So, stomp away....

Have I your permission to stomp all over this with Te hobnailed boots, in an effort to seek, or obtain, or hold onto, clarity (like hammering a spike into the cliff while rock climbing, if it holds, it provides a new benchmark that will not suddenly be lost, and can be used as a starting point for subsequent efforts)...

Best wishes.
 

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@PurpleAmy I feel somewhat sheepish about the possibility that our long posts here are annoying others, but, 1) no one has to read anything, right? If they're not interested, they can just ignore this conversation. And 2) Suddenly others are joining our conversation too, which I find exciting. It makes this exchange another example of how defaulting to an open rather than closed posture can be advantageous in unexpected ways...


My impossible ideal is indeed to have one person with whom I share everything and they do too, that we both have the same outlook on growing and changing as individuals, that somehow this outlook never affects our relationship, and that I never need to reach out to anyone else to get what I need in terms of intimacy. Monogamy isn't a deal breaker for me (My LTR that ended last year was monogamous for all but a year or two fairly early on), but I couldn't begin to deal with someone who is possessive and jealous, as I'll end up choosing between that relationship and being in the world properly, and without the latter, the relationship will fail. So there's a degree of openness and trust that I absolutely require and am glad to reciprocate.

I don't believe that being both deep and broad puts too much pressure on a relationship, I believe that doing so, in the context of them being the One True Person does that. I'd rather relax that latter constraint and have less practical commitment in life than reduce the scope of the connection in terms of intimacy. If I have to choose between being everything to someone, and being deeply intimate with them, I choose the latter. My experience thus far has been that this is indeed a choice I have to make, because of the conflicts between my desire to grow and change as a person and to see others around me do the same, and my desire to have someone be right there with me all the way. That's a combination that's highly unstable, so my theory on how to deal with that is to let relationships ebb and flow, although I find that very difficult. I first had to try the opposite of putting the relationship first and learn that I destroy myself in the process - doing that cannot work for me.
Why is it important to you that it be one person, especially since you characterize that as an 'impossible ideal' (though perhaps that was tongue in cheek)? I don't mean the question to be pejorative, but I'm honestly curious about where that ideal comes from and what makes that configuration of intimacy feel so compelling to you. A lot of people look for one person because monogamy is a deal breaker, but that doesn't seem to be your position, which makes me yet more curious about why you want one relationship (even a non-monogamous one), that meets all your needs for "intimacy" (I assume you mean emotion/intellectual intimacy then?).

I'm honestly not sure I can accurately reconstruct my own feelings about this issue historically. I'm sure I had an ideal of a person who understood and desired and interested me so utterly that nothing else was required, though I have had an underlying suspicion about this as far back as I can remember, as well as profound practical doubts. In light of the rapidity of my own changing interests/desires/needs, it doesn't seem remotely plausible that another person could match them exactly. Moreover, it would seem rather boring if they did. Part of the fun of a 'partner' is having them pull and push you in directions you did not expect and would not have chosen on your own.

But anyway the idea of "One True Person" seems frankly unintelligible to me. I understand connection and bonding, and having connections with certain individuals that are stronger, deeper, and more enjoyable than others, but even if/ when I have an overwhelmingly compelling connection with a particular person, I still would not want to be closed off to connection with others too. Why should that connection make me less interested in others? It might make me need connection with others less, but that is a different matter, and even if I don't need another close friend that doesn't make me averse to making one. There's my greed rearing its head again: more is better! I want all the candy! The main difficulties with one:many relations (be they sexual, emotional, or whatever else) are the practical consequences of them such as hurt feelings, relative prioritization, not having enough time, getting overwhelmed. Maybe we mean something different or i misunderstood your description.

Having said all that, for the first few years after I met my now-husband we spent almost all of our non-work hours together and had almost no other relationships of marked significance. I didn't really feel, at the time, that I needed any other relationships. Now I do: I both want them and need them. After our first four years or so together, I started branching out more. (We've been together 23 years). I've never had a desire to separate, or felt that he was unsatisfactory because ours wasn't the only bond I wanted. Our interests are not exactly the same, our priorities are not exactly the same, and our bond has a particular flavor and character that I love and cherish, but I want other flavors too. I want to be bonded with other people in different ways than the two of us connect, but this doesn't undermine my connection to him because that is an essential part of me, and something that I value and choose wholeheartedly.

I didn't and don't mean to imply that breadth and depth are unreasonable demands in a relationship, but rather that it does not seem reasonable to expect a partner to match your every little desire for intimacy, at its exactly level of intensity and whatever its character and content. Obviously there has to be sufficient overlap in interests as well as trust, deep understanding and a willingness to explore you. But probably there will be a lot of things you like and they don't and vice versa, like maybe you have or develop a deep attraction to cooking or birds or meditation or hiking or travel or catholicism ... and your partner does not. You'll probably still want someone else to share these passions of yours, no? Why can't those relationships be intimate ones and if they are (or can be) intimate connections why/how does this undermine the strength of your bond with your partner?


I've had exactly one good one out of probably 6 or 7, maybe more. It's hard to keep track of unremarkable people from long ago. Even with her, we've had a lot more conflict lately. If we hadn't been working together for many years on and off, I'd have given up on working with her. I came very close about 6 months ago and chose to confront instead. There's a certain magic that's never quite been there again, but it's still been useful.

It's worth noting that in some sense, they're right, things aren't that complicated, but because intellectualization is one of my major defenses, I've needed someone who can challenge that effectively. That may no longer be true, now that I've recognized it as such.

I don't feel I can comment on friends being just as insightful. When I've tried to make friends who connect that much with me, they wander off or become avoidant. Story of my life, so it's hard not to take it personally. I suspect I exhaust them, and I've been told that my intellect can be quite intimidating to others in my field (which makes me want to cry as this is the last thing I want to be seen for), so bonding over that stuff often doesn't work out as well as I'd hope either. I do think, in principal, that this is true, and I've certainly moments when discussing with friends had a much bigger impact than my therapist. In general though, I feel clueless when it comes to close friendships as I've never had one that stuck long enough to get that depth.

Oh my, do we have something in common in our pathological use of intellect? If so, that's a first. I couldn't snap out of it until I saw it reach a very bitter end.
Several questions arise in me at this point (which is not to say that you are any obligation to answer my questions; feel free to ignore them). What caused conflict between you and your current therapist that required confrontation on your part and then caused the magic of your interactions to fade? My imagination percolates loudly. Given the strength of your past relationship and the usefulness of her support, this conflict/deterioration must have been very difficult.

As described in the above part of your post and elsewhere (like in your response to @Dabbling's recent messages), you seem to have a deeply ambivalent relation to your intellect. On the one hand you say that "intellectualization" is one of your major defenses, and you also seem to value the intellectual grappling of which your current/previous therapist is capable, as well as the person you mentioned at the end of your last post (the person who could engage you in a manner concordant with your values). On the other hand you say that "purely intellectual" conversations aren't sufficiently stimulating for you and that you want a connection of a different kind. You also seem to disassociate yourself from the intellectual aspects of your job, and that job seems to have a lot of negative associations for you (that I don't understand these associations because you haven't explicated them. Is it primarily the 'intellectual' aspects of your work that frustrate you, or do those suffer from guilt by association with the other frustrating aspects your job?)

On the one hand you seem to strongly identify with your intellectual persona, but on the other hand you seem to reject it. The main question that leaps to my mind is how much you could really do without it. For example, if you are mentally nimble, highly analytical, etc., presumably you would need to connect on this level with a friend or romantic partner, at least in addition to whatever other intimacy you seek. Indeed, in the bolded part of the text below, you suggest as much. You talk about "being confused" by other people and "needing to make sense of them" and not wanting to stop until the matter is resolved. I agree with all of this (that is to say, I myself incessantly seek to understand and makes sense of other people as well as myself) yet this is a highly cerebral way of engaging with others. As bizarre as it is to me, many people have no desire to make sense of others. They find it boring, overly detailed, impractical, abstract or whatever else. They want to 'purely' interact with others. This is obviously NOT your perspective.

For me, by contrast, most forms of intimacy are both intellectual and emotional/personal. I can't tease those two aspects of myself apart, and I can't exactly prefer one aspect over the other because they are part and parcel of each other. For example, I spend a lot of time analyzing my own emotions and my reactions, and writing and rewriting the narrative of my own person with a lot of detail and, sometimes, intellectual baggage. For someone to be able to engage intimately with me about my fears, goals, hangups, etc., they would need a certain intellectual facility, including a capacity to spend time understanding frameworks that may initially appear unrelated to the structure of my inner life.

Conversely, when I have an academic discussion with someone else, that almost invariably turns into a personal discussion. Some people aren't as open to burrowing into this tunnel as others, but almost everyone is willing to start. E.g., what made you study that? Why did this thing you are doing now seem like an important extension of your earlier knowledge? If this aspect of your research is frustrating to you, what makes you stay in the field? I almost invariably ask these kinds of questions, and the answers may be more or less personal, but they are always somewhat personal. What people are interested in, read about, talk about, devote their professional lives to, are frustrated by, etc., these are VERY personal features of them.

I can't quite get my mind around what makes 'purely intellectual' conversations seem impersonal to you, or detached/detachable from the person evincing theories or solving puzzles? Even more puzzling to me is your statement about the rarity of having intellectual engagement concordant with your personal values. What makes intellectual engagement conflict with your personal values? And why/how did the use of your own intellect lead you a bitter end? So many questions. Each answer leads to more questions.

(Honestly, I have a very ambivalent relationship to my own cerebrality, borne of a rather different source, although it has had some highly destructive effects on me, especially in relation to some of my anxiety disorders and my struggle with performance expectations of myself and others. I think I will leave that discussion for another time.)


That belief that people will react badly to me is terribly hard for me, because my instinct is to keep reaching out, always, and never stop, even when it's very difficult, especially when it's difficult. If I feel confused about something someone has said, and I can't make sense of it, I want to confront this until it is resolved, and my instinct is to just keep going until it is or I am told clearly to stop. I have very little capacity to accept areas that are unresolved and off limits. I can probably live with one if someone is very important and the matter isn't too much, but it never is quite the same.

To be clear, my belief that being more open would lead to bad things is rooted in real childhood experience. The absolutely last thing I could be with my parents was open; they were much too reactive and struggling to keep themselves together, and with one of them, it became an issue of physical safety as well, that I learned to manipulate rather than being open. How I wish I could cut that ability out of me, but I do tend to disarm it by being as explicit as I can get away with about my faults, my weaknesses.

Yes, it breaks my heart too. I've recently started accepting this conclusion about someone who had the very rare ability to leave me feeling intellectually challenged in a manner concordant with my values. I've probably said this before, but this latest insult added to the long history of rejection is trigger for my present anger at the world and all of those who want to use me but not know me.

My words! You've taken them again! Come back here with those! In my case, there's a mixture of denial of self and explicit rejection of exploring his feelings on his part a well. He's also quite emotionally expressive and is denies that it is so. He's detached from awareness of them, yet they're still affecting him, and as far as I can see, working perfectly well despite his protests of being emotionally absent and having no depth. The absence isn't real and he can't see any depth because he's cut himself off from it.

Every word of this, yes, yes, yes! I get excited, aroused even, reading this. Because yeah. That. So much that. Every word and never want to stop. Uh, was that TMI?

Ha! I am quite the same and, in any case, I gather that neither of us has much native sympathy for the notion of TMI. What the hell does that even mean? If it's genuine information, and it's relevant to you and thus to my ability to understand you, why on earth would I desire to be kept in the dark about it unless I didn't actually want to know you? And if didn't actually want to know you, why would I be talking to you in the first place? TMI: does not compute.

It sounds like we have found ourselves in a similar position of late. I cannot discern whether your person who refuses to engage with himself was your previous LTR person or even a romantic relation at all. My friend and I have no sexual relationship, but there is plenty of intimacy and (at least on my part) an unambiguous desire for more intimacy along with a clear sense of how to get more of it. He suffers from a deep ambivalence about intimacy in general, and especially being intimate with himself. It's impossible to be satisfyingly intimate with a person who cannot bear this relation to himself. It is maddeningly frustrating but, again, it's impossible for me think that (leaving me and my wishes entirely aside), someone can lead a full life without a willingness to understand themselves. Even when they tell me they don't want to understand themselves, and they obviously avoid understanding themselves, I don't actually believe them. I infer that they must be traumatized, or frightened, or confused. When considered abstractly, I can't defend my view that knowing oneself is an inherent good. This may very well be a case of my own projecting things from my psyche out onto the world. I accept and understand (that it might not be better to understand oneself) in a completely general way, though this is something I cannot see from the inside. I can't see the world that way, for better or worse.

sleep again... damn you body. :frustrating:
 
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